Jane Kinsey, Dennis Fimple, Bob Hampton, Duane Townsend, Bob Barrett, Jeanne Cooper Glenn Black inducted.


Seven more people were inducted in the Taft Union High School Hall of Fame Saturday night.
 
The group included actors, educators, businessmen, and civic leaders.
Saturday’s ceremony brings to 21 the number of TUHS alumni that have been honored for their life’s achievements.

The new inductees included resort developer Robert Barrett (Class of 1958), business and civic leader Glenn Dolder Black (Class of 1939), soap opera actress Jeanne Cooper (1949), character actor Dennis Fimple (1958), businessman, educator and community leader Bob Hampton (Class of 1956), educator and museum curator Jane Kinsey (Class of 1956), and physician and medical professor and researcher Dr. Duane Townsend (Class of 1952).

Fimple and Kinsey were inducted posthumously. The other five accepted the awards at the banquet Saturday at OT’s Cookhouse.

All were selected by the TUHS Hall of Fame Committee both for their achievements in life and to serve as an inspiration for Taft High students.

“These seven individuals are exemplary and have demonstrated excellence in their chosen fields,” said Hall of Fame Committee Chairman Bill Wickwire.

Barrett grew up in Ford City and worked in his father’s gardening business.

Now he owns and operates resorts in the Caribbean and even owns a private island.

However, he remembers where he got his start, and credited teacher and counselor Pete Gianopulos, who was inducted into the hall of fame last year.
“He’s always encouraged me to get more knowledge,” Barrett said.

Black moved to Taft as a young boy.

“I’ve lived here most of my life and I intend to spend the rest of my life here,” said Black, who, with his brother Bill, bought a small plumbing company that expanded and is now run by two of his children.

Black was also the longest serving mayor in Taft history (five terms) and was a founding member of the West Kern Water District.

Cooper is best known for her role as Katherine Chancellor on “The Young and the Restless” since 1973 and is a resident on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Her first film credit was in 1953 in “The Redhead from Wyoming” with Maureen O’Hara. She is also an Emmy-winning actress.

She credits her education to growing up in Taft.

“The Taft School system is the finest school system in the United States,” she said.
Chris Fimple accepted on behalf of his father, character actor Dennis Fimple, who died in 2002.
Dennis first got interested in acting when he played Tom Sawyer in a play at Lincoln Junior High.

He worked his way into numerous roles as a character actor starting in the 1960s in well known shows like “Alias Smith and Jones,” “Petticoat Junction,” Gomer Pyle USMC,” M*A*S*H,” and continued through shows like “Quantum Leap,” and “ER.”

Hampton distinguished himself first as an athlete, playing on the 1956 Valley Championship basketball team and attending USC on a scholarship.

After a career in teaching and coaching at high school and community college, Hampton bought out a garbage collection business that is now Westside Waste Management.

He said he is proudest of his service on the Kern Union High school District board of Trustees and is known as the “No. 1 cheerleader for education in Kern County.”

He, too, credited what he learned growing up in Taft and attending Taft High, saying he couldn’t have achieved what he did without living and learning in Taft.

“Throughout life I’ve learned you give more than you receive. You taught me that.”
He was grateful for being selected, saying, and “The feeling is indescribable.

Jane Kinsey was known through most of her life in Taft as a teacher and counselor, but found fame later as the longtime curator of the West Kern Oil Museum.

Her sister, Barbara Wheeler, accepted on her behalf.

“I am so proud of my sister. She would have been pleased.”

Duane Townsend is an obstetrics and gynecology specialist who has not only been a college professor but a leader in the field, developing new treatments, including cryosurgery and minimally invasive treatments such laparoscopy.

He also was the first to train nurses in more active roles in women’s care and that led to the first nurse practitioner training program.

“It’s been a great ride,” he said of his career.

Townsend singled out legendary TUHS English instructor Bailey Newlee for teaching him how to study.

“It was Bailey Newlee who really transformed my life. He taught me how to study, and that was he key for me going on to college.”

Saturday’s inductions bring to 21 the number of people in the TUHS Hall of Fame.
Stan Barrett first conceived the idea three years ago.